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Colombia's DC3 Pilots Risk It All: Al Jazeera Reports On Flying Over The Amazon (VIDEO)

Posted: 03/12/2012 11:25 am Updated: 03/12/2012 11:26 am

Colombia Dc3

The first DC3 was buit more than 70 years ago, yet in Colombia's jungle the old propeller plane is still a daily mode of transportation.

Al Jazeera hitched a ride on one of the 30 DC3's that fly across Colombia regularly. It proved to be a risky trip; over the Amazonian rainforest, the plane was caught in a violent storm. Amid turbulence, without visibility and no radio contact, it took the captain enormous effort to steer the metal bird above the clouds.

"It's dangerous," Captain Raul told Al Jazeera. "The slightest problem and the plane will just fall out of the sky."

The DC3's serve a number of Indian villages in the Amazon, and they are often the only means of transportation connecting the jungle towns to the outside world. Raul transports villagers, furniture, mattresses and animals in his plane.

No one seems to know the exact age of the plane Raul is flying. "During the war the flight data wasn't recorded. It only began when we started taking passengers and freight, when civil aviation began," the captain told Al Jazeera. "I think it was updated in 1962."

Yet the ancient model seems to miraculously land and take off in the harsh conditions of the Amazonian. For Raul, no control towers, minimal fuel reserves, and a slippery landing strip instead of a runway are daily business.

Read Al Jazeera's full report from Colombia on their website. Above, watch the full episode of Risking It All.

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Filed by Eline Gordts  |